– Shabana Chowdhury Ahmed
The Kingdom of Aragon was a medieval and early modern kingdom on the Iberian Peninsula. It commanded a flourishing sea trade. In the 14th century Aragon was a well established kingdom. The story teller sets her story in The Ancient Kingdom of Aragon.
Count Pedro and his wife Isabella had two beautiful daughters who were eight years of age and were also identical twins! They were named Lucia and Emilia. They all lived together with his ailing father in their town house. His mother died at childbirth.
Count Pedro inherited a vast fortune of land on the death of his father in Aragon and in the countryside as he was the only child. He also became the owner of a dozen sea worthy sailing ships.
Next morning Pedro went to the lawyer’s office to sign the official documents. The lawyer offered him a glass of vintage wine and began reminiscing about the good old days, when he met Pedro’s father and became their family lawyer. He told Pedro about the awesome parties in the castle of his late father in the countryside. The guests all came in their fine horse carriages and spent the weekends at the castle.
Pedro told the lawyer that when he was young his nanny allowed him to sit on top of the stairs and watch the guests dancing in their fine attires. As his father became older and ill the parties stopped. After the death of his father he would go once a while to the countryside castle to make sure that it was maintained properly.
Time passed. Lucia and Emilia finished school and became eligible for marriage. Girls from noble families were not encouraged for higher education. Isabella decided that it was time for her daughters to choose a suitable husband and settle down. So she invited all the young ladies and gentlemen of noble descents to a ball at the castle, where Lucia and Emilia would meet suitable eligible noblemen.
Isabella also decided to have the ball at the ancestral castle of her husband Count Pedro in the countryside. Preparations began at the castle for in a month’s time the castle would be full of house guests. Invitations were sent to all bachelors and young ladies of noble descents along with their parents.
At last the long awaited day arrived. Guests with their horse carriages began to fill up the courtyard. All the guests were shown into their rooms to refresh themselves. The bell tower of the castle struck six times as evening fell. All the guests came into the ballroom splendidly dressed. This was the ball where the young ladies and gentlemen would dance with different partners and discover the likes and dislikes of each other. The musicians began playing their instruments and a festive mood descended upon the guests. A banquet was set at the corner of the ballroom. The candles in their candelabras created an ambience of warmth intimacy and romance in the ballroom. Not a cloud was in the sky. It was a star studded sky with a full moon. All was calm. Suddenly a flash of lightening appeared out of nowhere and struck the bell tower of the castle with such a force that it destroyed the tower. Thunderstorm followed. A strong cold wind blew into the ballroom through the open windows. All the candles were extinguished. Darkness engulfed the castle. People screamed with fear. Another lightning struck the castle directly and a glitch in time occurred. The castle along with all the people inside just disappeared out of sight!
Next morning, some villagers from a nearby village came to see, why some of their family members, who worked at the castle did not return home. As they approached the spot, where the castle stood they looked in horror and could not believe their eyes! There was an empty space, where the castle should have been standing! Neither the castle, nor the people inside it were ever seen again!